Business owners in some of the main sport fishing destinations on Costa Rica’s South Pacific coast have great expectations for the industry’s high season, which runs from November to April.
Businesses in the popular destinations of Puerto Jiménez, Golfito and Quepos are hoping for a spike in visits, primarily from U.S. and Canadian tourists, which would help increase demand for local goods and services.
Sport fishing’s contribution to local economies during the high season is estimated at $331 million, according to a study by Costa Rican Fisheries Federation (FECOP) biologist and fisheries management specialist Jorge Álvarez Corrales. The study was released Monday.
According to Corrales, estimated revenue includes hotels, restaurants, marinas, boat and car rentals and other leisure businesses. The report states that 72.6 percent of sport fishing tourists who visited the region between 2008-2010 also participated in other water sports such as surfing, diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
The influx of sport fishers in Costa Rica is largely attributed to a high variety of fish species such as sailfish, and blue, black and striped marlin, as well as other minor species including mackerel, grouper, snapper, roosterfish, mahi-mahi, tarpon and snook.
FECOP Executive Director Enrique Ramírez said it is essential for businesses to receive government support in order to strengthen the sport fishing industry.
“We have estimated that the export value of a sailfish for consumption is between $123- $150, while maintaining one alive, according to Costa Rica’s catch-and-release policy, generates income from all fishing-related businesses of some $3,200-$3,800,” he said.
In order to promote the current fishing season, FECOP this week launched a campaign on its social media networks called “Pesconomía,” which offers information highlighting sport fishing’s contribution to the country’s economy.